UVC Light effective in killing Coronavirus?

In the current COVID-19 situation, UV-C light is employed as an effective way of sanitizing large spaces because of its proven record of germicidal action on previous Coronavirus. Hospitals and Industries have used UVC for a long time because of its efficient disinfection properties.

Many countries are adopting UVC Lights to disinfect buses and trains in its depots. Companies are ramping up the production of various sanitizing devices to sanitize personal protective equipment and other items which use UVC lights because of their effectiveness in deactivating a wide range of bacteria and viruses.

The UV-C wavelength range (200-280nm) has germicidal properties. UV-C light is not found naturally on the earth’s surface as the ozone layer absorbs it. The technology used for disinfection is termed as Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation. High energy Germicidal rays (UV-C), particularly at 254nm wavelength, is absorbed by the DNA/RNA of the pathogens leading to damage in its nucleic acids, which renders them incapable of reproducing and infecting.

UV-C is useful in killing all kinds of microorganisms, including drug-resistant bacteria, fungi, viruses, and spores. Scientific researchers have found UV-C lights effective in deactivating the Coronavirus responsible for SARS after being exposed to UV-C light( 254nm) for 10 mins. The viral/microbial inactivation is subject to the UV-C dose – which is related to the intensity of light and the duration the light is irradiated. We can improve the efficiency of disinfection by using multiple UV bulbs that generate UV irradiation from different angles to cover all the surfaces of a product.

Scientists are exploring the use of “far-UVC” with a wavelength of 222nm, which kills viruses without harming humans. The existing products are not yet safe for use on the human body and can lead to eye, skin damage and cause cancer.  For humans, the best way to protect themselves involves washing their hands frequently, following social distancing norms and disinfecting regularly touched surfaces.

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